Reverb 10: Travel

December 22 – Travel: How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

In 2010:

  • Hong Kong for wedding and Vietnam in vacationing
  • LA for a wedding
  • And a few moments in Michigan
  • Seattle for a scavenger hunt and visiting friends
  • Chicago for a wedding
  • In 2011:
    Will it be…Peru? New York City. Perhaps Portland for the street food? For Seattle again for the sci-fi museum? Japan? I don’t know!

    Reverb 10: 5 Minutes

    December 15 – 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

  • Watching TV and movies with Chris
  • The moment that I survived the Journey to the End of the Night in October
  • The experience of visiting Hong Kong and seeing my relatives that I almost never see
  • Knowing the type of travel partner I needed regarding compatibility as a result of my trip to Vietnam
  • What I seek in a career and most importantly, my manager
  • How to harness creativity
  • Realizing where my skills truly lie
  • The experiences and needed creativity for the street food scavenger hunt
  • The amazing people that I met throughout the year
  • And determining who are the true friends
  • The successful methods by which to establish conversation
  • How to park in the garage
  • How to make sweet potato soup
  • How to make corn casserole with the right times and temperature
  • Realizing that sleeping…in bed…is the best times of all
  • Watching Inception not once but twice
  • Knowing not eat from a salad bar, especially when traveling
  • How to time manage effectively when entertaining and cooking
  • Reverb 10: Action

    December 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

    Next step.

    Harness creativity and make it happen.

    I used to say that I enjoyed doing design…the kind of design that I do for products. The kind where the design is so integrated and seamless that it’s barely noticeable.

    Although the world has changed with the use of the iPhone, design changes people slowly. Behavior perhaps. It may solves problems.

    But the thing I wanted to strive for—to think about the world differently, to change beliefs…design almost isn’t enough.

    And so this is my next step: to do something where I can do that.

    Reverb 10: Make

    December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

    Beyond work and career-related things, it was a holiday greeting card of Chris and me.

    In preparation for a friend’s ugly sweater party on Saturday, I had researched what was generally considered a ugly sweater. In doing so, I ran into many “awkward” Christmas family photos.

    Suddenly inspired, I thought…well WHY NOT.

    I asked Joe whether I could borrow Jem and prepped. But then suddenly at the party, I mentioned my idea to my friend and she immediately suggested that we take the PHOTO in front of her christmas tree. Chris and I made our pose.

    Then the following day, our friend sent us the photos. I took the photo and applied several effects—soft focus, brightly colored frame, holiday decoration, and an appropriate text message.

    And now I am in the process of writing another accompanying message. To APPEAR soon on your screen!

    Reverb 10: Let Go

    December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

    Marina. The second one.

    When I had first met her, she was different. Unlike many of my friends, she did not go to college and never graduated from high school. She was rarely interested in intellectual discourse. She was a big spender. She drank almost without apology. She was living paycheck to paycheck. She worked a menial job or was jobless. She almost never said no. She grew up in San Francisco, raised in the Mission district. She had a 6 year old son who she saw only every other week or less. She was dependable.

    We had bonded because of someone we knew mutually. That friend broke ties with me because I had chosen to be friends with her. But at the time, it did not matter. I went with what seemed best, easy, and friendly. We had the same music taste. We were born in the same year.

    But the splintering began as time passed. Although I would like to believe that there are no class differences in the US, there are. Expectations were different in my social circle. I was more comfortable with low-key activities…and had gotten slightly yuppie over the years. Money was not supposed to be a primary issue.

    As a Christmas present last year, I told her bluntly that I would help her get her high school diploma. Whatever it took, I had said. I researched tutors. She had started studying the GED books in the library. I called a few tutors and interviewed them. Then I talked with her about the process—what it would take—the sessions she would attend. I said that I would pay for them—over $300 in goodwill and possibly more. And it wasn’t that I was trying to be a saint, I really did want to sincerely help…and in some way, help her decrease her complaints of not finding a job and being fired frequently. But when I told her what she needed to do, she immediately dropped it. And over time, I just decided to drop it too. The day that she read my Christmas present, she said nothing and closed the card. It was the last time that we spoke of my attempt to help her.

    As the year wore on, I started to feel like I was being used. I was asked by her for everything. How to submit the passport application. How to apply for so-and-so. Easy things. Things that I obviously didn’t know. Granted, I was being snotty. But it wasn’t in me to be the know it all, I wanted to compel her to figure out things on her own. Inspire. But I was too selfish all the same.

    One day, it ended. I remember what she said, “Friends help each other.” I didn’t see her helping me. Name the last time that you helped me I shot back and there was only silence.

    Or did she? To know someone who was outside my comfort zone?

    In my birthday card of last May a few weeks before the above conversation, she had apologized for being distant as of lately. She had considered me a close friend and regretted not seeing me more. It was a $5 pop-up card of a gumball machine. She knew that I had love for sweets.

    Reverb 10: Moment

    December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.


    It was a moment of discovery, challenge, fear for myself, fear for others, and success all at once.

    I described it earlier in a succint form.

    It was the Journey to the End of the Night. We (the group of people we were with) were on a bus heading west on Haight. The bus itself was a safe zone—chasers couldn’t tag us the runners. However, they were egging us on and watching our every move. In a lame attempt to throw them off our trail, I said that we would get off soon, thinking that we would get off in 10 blocks. At the last minute right at Central and Haight, Chris whispered, “We are getting off here.”

    Unfortunately, it was one block away from the safe zone.

    Chris and Jeff ran storming off the bus. I was confused and hesitated at the front bus door, surely confusing everyone else behind me. That hesitation was what saved me. Standing in the doorway, I could hear silence and see only darkness. It was perfect weather for San Francisco. Not too hot, not too cold. No rain…and the air drifted with only a slight menace on the day before Halloween.

    As I stepped off the bus…in those few seconds, I heard screams of glee that could only be from chasers. We were in attack. And then I heard it…screams of terror or perhaps disappointment from a chaser who had been tagged.

    Running down Central from Haight to Page was more dark that I had anticipated. The dim street lights were insignificant, barely lighting the street and definitely not the sidewalks.

    My adrenaline quickly built up and I knew…I just knew that I probably couldn’t do the sprint. I immediately moved left, lowering myself to the ground smelling the dusty concrete—a smell so like the city of San Francisco. A parked car shielded me from view from those in the middle of the street.

    I saw Jeff—in his bright red getup—get tagged. My black costume as a ninja saved me, blending into the darkness. In between the cracks of parked cars, I could see that the chasers were celebrating. They were dancing, almost as if around a prize. A chaser girl was bragging as she took Jeff’s ribbon. “A trophy!” she exclaimed to a fellow chaser. Then she laughed. An evil long-drawn-out laugh.

    I realized that she had no idea that I was there. She could not hear my breathless anxiety building up and up.

    But there was no time. Did Chris make it? I heard nothing…nothing familiar that seemed of his voice from ahead or behind. Was he ok?

    My tongue was dry. No time. My senses sharpened. I had to make it to the safe zone. I sprinted, but halted when I saw a shadowy figure ahead. Someone from the game? Someone not? She turned around and said, “Are you…” I dodged slightly to the middle of the street and ran ahead.

    And there on the bright lights on Fell street right near the panhandle, I saw a familiar figure. Chris. He was standing in a way to say What’s happening? Where are you? Are you ok?

    He spotted me and hesitated, knowing that I could have crossed the boundary of being a chaser too.

    “I am safe!” I exclaimed.

    I ran toward him in embrace and said, “I made it! But I don’t know if other people did…”

    Reverb 10: Writing

    December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

    There is a shallow response to this prompt. Sleep, floss, washing dishes—the mundane tasks of everyday life that don’t deserve to be written about.

    Yet, there’s a deeper response. Everything influences each other. By not sleeping, I sometimes see the world differently in a tired state. Perhaps by not washing the dishes, I annoy others in the household who thus cause an event that wouldn’t have occurred. Or floss…well the results of teeth issues certainly is writable.

    I primarily write about my own life—a wholly egocentric view. Writing is a time for me to reflect and de-stress. How can I do without anything when everything is a small piece of the bigger picture…of me.

    Although I certainly could do without alarms. Or the idea that I have to be somewhere on time would be superbly nice.

    Reverb 10: One Word

    Inspired by Suki (a requested change—it’s not the Suki originally from the East Coast, but a Suki of the West Coast), I decided to try to take part of the reverb project. It’s the monthlong project for reflection on the past year. Particularly since I am almost writing for the void nowadays.

    Here we go!

    December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

    This year, 2010, is competition. It’s not that I have been on marathons or anything like that. Unlike many years, this was the year that I became more competitive. Professionally, I finally reached a plateau that guaranteed me everything for the next steps.

    But what was it about competition.

    There were the hunts.

    In February, it was the Chinese New Year Scavenger Hunt.


    In March, it was the insanity of the Foodspotting Scavenger hunt.

    Angels on Horseback at Anchor and Hope

    Then throughout the year, it was the Jejune Institute.


    In July, it was the City Chase in Seattle


    And of course, the famous Street Food Scavenger Hunt.

    Kitchen Disaster FINAL!

    In October, it was the Journey to the End of the Night.

    The entire group before the fall

    It stretched all my creativity, all my athleticism, all my thinking-on-my-feet. But most importantly, in this competition, it was all about teamwork. The ability to understand how far my teammates were going to go. Knowing their strengths, their weaknesses…contrasted with my very own.

    That was 2010.

    As for 2011, I hope that it’s going to be discovery. Sometimes I blame my environment for the sheltered childhood that I had. I am constantly seeking a way to catch up. And at the same time, leave my zone of comfort. And that zone, it’s always very small. We’ll see.